18 November 2016

Hey. How you doing - you doing ok? Yeah, it's been a rough week, I know. Me too. Some seriously bad juju going round right now, I hear ya. You know what, though, just cause we got knocked down don't mean we can't get back up again. You know? We got suckerpunched, no doubt, and right in the gut, too. Your stomach upset? Having digestion problems? Nausea, maybe just don't feel like eating? That's why. It's that solar plexus chakra, Manipura, that's where we've all, a lot of us, been feeling it.

If you're not up on your chakras - and I admit I had to go for a refresher, here - this is the third one, the point where inward and outward flowing energies meet, where they are processed and transformed by the fire of your chi. And when things are off and you get destabilized, it can manifest here; because you're not fully processing. Whether it's food, thoughts, or emotions, or maybe some combination where one of those manifests as one of the others. Right? This is the seat of your internal fire, and some of the Hindu deities associated with it - Rudra, Vahni - are not only fire gods but have the power of dispelling fear. And there's been a whole lot of that going around this past week, hasn't there? A *whole* lot. Not without reason, but fear, man.. fear will mess you the eff up.

But here's the thing, and if you've read Starhawk you probably know this already: where there is fear, there is power. We're being fear-bombed right now, in great big waves (and I would not be surprised if there was actual psy-ops going on to accomplish this - not saying there is, just I wouldn't be surprised). And I don't at all mean to say that the bad things we see out ahead, that they don't have the potential to become very, very, real. They do, absolutely. And yet.

All these things that we fear, all the ways we can foresee our democracy being destroyed, all the hate crimes, all the progress we've made that stands to be repealed, all the things we stand to lose - we stand to lose them because of fear. Not *our* fear, this time - theirs (whoever 'they' are). Well, we've got some names and faces to identify as 'they'; I don't need to list them here. What's important for you to know is, 'they' are absolutely terrified - of us. Of what we represent. Of the free and open future we have been, and will continue to be, fighting for.

What we're seeing right now is their fear played out on the public stage. What do they fear? Oh that's easy; they fear loss of power. They fear a world where some - them - *aren't* more equal than others. They fear losing their privilege, their special snowflake-ness that defines them as The Norm. They fear it because they assume if they no longer occupy that special, privileged position, they will suffer every bit as much of the suffering they have and will continue to inflict on everyone who isn't 'them'. (I'm resisting the urge to identify 'them' as cishet white males though undoubtedly most of them are; I understand intellectually that #notallmen are like this, even as my angered, wounded heart rages at the ones who aren't because they also haven't stopped those that are. But that's an argument for another time).

This is the really important part though: they are coming down so hard because that is how terrified they are that we are actually winning. If we weren't having an actual, tangible impact, they could shrug us off. A few memes, a few nasty tweets and jibes on reddit and that's it, the dominant paradigm would be re-established, back to those glory days that we're pretty sure existed even if we didn't really experience them!

But that's not what happened, or what's happening. Instead, we ('we') keep making gains. Women don't just have the right to vote, they nearly ran off with the top boss job in all the land. Gays can marry. Marijuana, that reliable scourge that ruined so many lives (or the laws against it did, but never mind all that) is not only no longer the bugaboo it once was; it's actually finally becoming legal - all over the country. The drug war, that big 'accomplishment' of the Reagan/Bush years, has at last been revealed as a collosal failure.

And people of color aren't just sitting home smoking blunts and watching gangster rap videos; they're using the internet as their *own* tool, exposing the racism and brutality we were all supposed to believe got swept under the rug fifty years ago. The tools of control that have been employed for the past however many decades are failing. We aren't just being pacified by must-see TV, the Christmas shopping season, sports championships and celebrity scandal. People have big screen TVs, but no jobs. People have big box stores endlessly jammed with new versions of the same electronic devices that fill their homes, but no money to buy them - or no fulfillment if they do. Overdose deaths happen more and more in safe white enclaves, not just ignorable city slums.

The tools aren't working. But the machine, the corporate death mechanism, the dominant paradigm, is insane; it keeps doubling down. More control! More jail! Fewer privileges! Make them obey!! And now their fear has pushed them to the point where they're willing to employ sheer naked aggression - a bloodless coup. Blatantly ignore the will of the people (who would *not* simply accept the narrative of corruption that was peddled, damn them!) and enforce the election of a wildly unpopular candidate - all of this, rather than concede that the future that's ahead of us is not their fever dream of a semi-mythical past.

But in a sense, and I know this is really hard to feel right now, that's the good news. Good, because it means we actually ARE a threat. Look how hard they're having to fight us! Would they be bringing out the big guns if we weren't actually having an impact? An impact that scares them? I don't think so. And that knowledge is power, if we're willing to embrace it.

This is an opinion piece, so I'm not googling for hard facts just now, but consider this: nearly half the country did not vote in this election. Let that sink in - did. not. even. bother. to. show. up. To borrow the words of Rush (the band, not the bloviator), "if you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice". Add that 46% or whatever it was to the 25ish-plus% that voted for HRC, and that's something like three-quarters of eligible voters who DID NOT CHOOSE this fascist sock puppet to lead us. Why so many abdicated their responsibility as voters, well, that too is another discussion for another time.

The point is, the whole country hasn't gone mad. One small section - many of whom were conned and lied to - managed to seize power in a blatant attempt to *force* progress to come to a screeching halt. When I say conned, I mean it: already, various bedrock campaign promises are being pedalled back, while others (bring back jobs) were never worth the hot air that inflated them. Jobs aren't coming back - we're almost caught up to the Jetsons, where nobody has to work because robots will do it all; only we're still stuck on the model where you have to work to make money to survive (oh, so many other discussions to be had, here!) People who voted for the mango mussolini with the hope he'd usher them back to a place at the middle-class table are in for some serious disappointment, and that's not likely to play out without some casualties. Unfortunately.

But let me say this one last time: where there is fear, there is power - and people have the power. We hold these truths to be self-evident, although they can often be forgotten when the promise of shiny new toys is dangled from one hand while the other points to That Other Guy as standing in your way of getting them. Don't believe the hype - don't fall for the con. We have the power, the power of progress, on our side. All men and women ARE created equal, and are equally deserving of the freedom to pursue life, liberty, and happiness. Even if they wear different clothes, pray to different gods, eat different foods, and have differently colored skins.

And that fear you've been feeling? Not saying it isn't grounded in reality, because those big guns I just mentioned include very actively tearing down every progressive gain that's happened pretty much my whole life; and I'm so old, Eisenhower was still President when I was born. But that fear is also a weapon that's being employed against you. When you are afraid, when you are depressed and frightened, and curled up with your kitty or your pup or your honey and praying the goons don't knock on *your* door, you're not fighting back. And trust me, the other side wants - needs - you not to fight back. They have one tactic: Hulk smash! You bad scary person, with your brown skin or lack of a penis, or same-sex lover, or funny last name, Hulk smash you! Because Hulk is SCARED of you.

But when you can uncurl yourself, when you can stand up straight, when you can step outside your door and see that there are far more of us than there are of them, you have found the power inside of your fear. I have been turning, these past few days, to the Litany Against Fear from Dune: Fear is the mind-killer.. fear will pass through me and I will turn to see where it has gone. You can look that one up if you don't know it; it's a good one.

And once your fear has passed through you, you may find that you have The Voice. OK, maybe not full-on Bene Gesserit (though if you do, drop me a line backchannel?). But the ability to speak truth to power. To go out in the streets, to march with the hundreds and thousands of others who are marching, marching for the thousands and hundreds of thousands more who aren't quite there yet but are still in your corner. Where there is fear, there is power - and we, the people, still have that power in our hands. Don't let yourself be intimidated into giving it up. They got the guns, but - we got the numbers. And if you're ready, it will carry us through.

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